The Festival Director, Ms Lola Shoneyin has Byenyan Jessica Bitrus, Media and Communications Manager to her left, while Tosin Adeyemi, the Festival's Finance Manager is on her right.

The Festival Director, Ms Lola Shoneyin has Byenyan Jessica Bitrus, Media and Communications Manager to her left, while Tosin Adeyemi, the Festival’s Finance Manager is on her right.

Despite the constraints of recession, the Director of the Ake Arts and Book Festival, Ms Lola Shoneyin has promised that this year’s festival will be nothing short of a “first class event for a first class audience”.

Speaking at a press luncheon to unveil the programme of events, she stated that this year’s festival, themed “Beneath This Skin” is focused on starting conversations about the African perspective of identity and assured that it will serve as a cultural hub that will not only unite art enthusiasts but will also appeal to the uninterested.

The five-day event will feature book chats, creative workshops, art exhibitions, drama and poetry nights, a musical concert and film screenings in what Ms Shoneyin promises will be an all-round coverage of the arts.

This year will also see the introduction of a short film festival that will feature Shade Adeniran’s “A Mother’s Journey,” Udo Oyeka’s “No Good Turn” and Umar Turaki’s “Salt”.


The festival’s line-up also includes 18 authors who will take part in 9 book chats, and 12 panel discussions that cover erotica, prison stories and horror fiction.

Author and Nobel Prize nominee, Ngugi wa Thiong’o headlines the festival and will share his life’s experiences in a chat with novelist and scholar Okey Ndibe.

The award-winning Kenyan author will also lead a discussion about prison stories alongside Kunle Ajibade and Chris Anyanwu, both journalists who were imprisoned under the military dictatorship of late Gen. Sani Abacha.

In ensuring that the festival is not strictly restricted to books, the organisers have also included musical performances from Brymo, Falana and Adunni Nefertiti. Debo Oluwatuminu’s play “Iyalode of Eti,” which is an adaptation of John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi is present in the programme as well as an exhibition of Laolu Sebanjo’s body art. Film is further represented by Marguerite Abouet’s “Aya de Yopougon” and Mahamat Haroun’s “Hissene Habre: A Chadian Tragedy”.

The Festival Director, Ms Lola Shoneyin has Byenyan Jessica Bitrus, Media and Communications Manager to her left, while Tosin Adeyemi, the Festival's Finance Manager is on her right.

The Festival Director, Ms Lola Shoneyin has Byenyan Jessica Bitrus, Media and Communications Manager to her left, while Tosin Adeyemi, the Festival’s Finance Manager is on her right.

The Ake Book and Arts Festival will hold at the Arts and Cultural Centre in Abeokuta from 15 to 19 November.

Adefoyeke Ajao